Corticosteroids are a type of medication related to cortisone, a steroid.
Medications of this class are used to reduce the inflammation caused by a variety of diseases and conditions. They are not pain killers which mask pain without addressing the most common cause-inflammation.
Cortisone is one type of a corticosteroid. For the purpose of this review, "cortisone" is used interchangeably with "corticosteroid."
Cortisone can be taken by mouth, inhaled, applied to the skin, given intravenously, or injected into various tissues of the body.
Examples of corticosteroids include prednisone and prednisolone (given by mouth),methylprednisolone injection (Solu-Medrol) (given intravenously), as well as dexamethasone (Decadron), triamcinolone (Kenalog), betamethasone (Celestone), and methylprednisolone (Depo-Medrol) which are given by injection into various body tissues.
A distinct benefit of a corticosteroid injection is that the relief of localized inflammation in a particular body area is more rapid and powerful than with traditional anti-inflammatory medications given by mouth, such as Motrin or Aspirin.
A single injection also can avoid certain side effects that can accompany many oral anti-inflammatory medications including stomach irritation.
Other advantages include a rapid onset of action, dependability, and minimal side effects.
Cortisone injections can offer reliable and durable relief of inflamed joints, tendons, bursa and nerves for many persons.
Examples of common types of conditions treated with cortisone injections include, but is not limited to, bursitis in the extremities, pinched nerves in the spine or extremities, and tendonitis in the extremities.
When administered by an expert, cortisone injections can offer significant relief of pain usually with minimal discomfort.
They are not usually performed in treatment isolation but as part of a broader rehabilitation plan that addresses the cause of the pain.
They are not meant to be performed routinely or repeatedly. Their use should be limited to reduce risks and potential side effects.
Resting the joint, bursa, nerve or tendon after the injection is important to allow the inflammation to decrease.
Formal exercise involving the injected area should be avoided for several days following the injection.
Disadvantages of cortisone injections are the necessity of piercing the skin with a needle as well as potential short and long-term side effects. It should be emphasized that though each of these side effects is possible, they usually never occur.
Short-term (1-5 days) cortisone injection side effects are uncommon but include:
Long-term side effects of corticosteroid injections are much rarer than short term side effects.
With higher doses and frequent administration, which increases secondary total body exposure to the corticosteroid, potential complications become more likely and include:
Let us connect you with a physician who can help you get back to living with less pain.